Futures flat a day after S&P 500, Dow hit record highs

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[July 13, 2016]  By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors stopped to take a breather a day after the S&P 500 and the Dow hit record highs, amid growing optimism about the economy.

* Easing political tension in Japan and Britain and increased prospects of central banks providing stimulus post Britain's vote to leave the European Union have also helped reduce some uncertainty in global markets.

* U.S. investors are now waiting to see whether quarterly earnings as well as forecasts for the second half of the year will justify current market valuations.

* The S&P is currently trading at 17.3 times forward earnings, compared with its 10-year average of 14.7, according to StarMine data.

* While second-quarter earnings are expected to fall 5 percent, along the same lines as the first, growth is expected to occur throughout the second half of 2016.

* The S&P 500 and the Dow made new closing highs and the Nasdaq turned positive for the first time in 2016 on Tuesday.

* A host of U.S. Federal Reserve officials, including the presidents of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Fed, have suggested that the central bank was unlikely to raise interest rates in the near-term.

* The Fed at 2 p.m. ET will release its so-called Beige Book, a collection of remarks on the health of the economy, which investors will parse to see if fundamentals remain strong.

* Shares of Juno Therapeutics soared 24 percent to $34.50 premarket after the U.S. health regulators removed a clinical hold on its cancer drug.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

* Yelp fell 2.5 percent to $29.62 after Wells Fargo downgraded the stock to "underperform".

* KFC and Pizza Hut restaurant chains owner Yum  and railroad operator CSX Corp are scheduled to report results after the close.

Futures snapshot at 7:17 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.03 percent, with 20,251 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis  were up 1.25 points, or 0.06 percent, with 151,288 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.15 percent, on volume of 12,956 contracts.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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